People ask me often about Macy’s liquidations. Macy’s is one of this country’s landmark retailers, does a TON of liquidation, and has an interesting history of its own.
Macy’s was initially called Federated Department Stores, Inc. It was renamed Macy’s, Inc. in June, 2007. The original company was formed through the combination of Abraham & Straus of Brooklyn, Filene’s of Boston, F&R Lazarus & Co. of Columbus, OH, and Bloomingdale’s of New York. This combination and formation of Federated occurred back in 1929. At the time, the company decided that each of these brands would maintain its own identity.
The company is credited with some creative ‘firsts’ in retailing. For example, the ‘pay as you can’ credit policy and new ways to arrange inventory on the floor. Rather than organizing the store by color, brand or price, they started organizing by size.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of trivia that few people know is the impact the company had on our country’s holiday calendar. Fred Lazarus, in 1939, was concerned about the shortened holiday shopping season when he realized Thanksgiving would fall on the last day of November. He actually suggested to President Roosevelt that Thanksgiving be anchored to the 4th Thursday in November every year to provide a more reliable holiday shopping season. Roosevelt liked the idea and it was passed into law.
Fred Lazarus’s legacy at the company is also one of growth. In 1944 he persuaded the company’s board that they ought to pursue expansion. The board agreed and they became an operating company headquartered in Cincinnati, OH in 1945. This started a long period of growth for the Macy’s predecessor that saw the company surpass $1 billion of sales from 14 operating divisions by 1964. It continued to grow into the 1970’s and reached $4.8 billion of sales by 1979.
Fred Lazarus stepped down as CEO in 1966 and was succeeded by his son, Ralph. Ralph drove the development of discount divisions in Florida, Texas and California to meet the demands of their customers. In addition, he drove the company into real estate development. By the time 1980 rolled around they had 364 stores.
In the late 1980’s Federated was involved in a corporate takeover by a Canadian real estate developer. Within 2 years, the company filed for bankruptcy. After exiting bankruptcy, the company acquired Macy’s in 1994 and Broadway Stores in 1995. It also acquired Fingerhut, which at the time was building advanced e-commerce capabilities. That acquisition turned out to be a failure.
In 2005, Macy’s acquired May Company, a similar company also built through a rollup of family owned department stores. At the time, this acquisition roughly doubled Macy’s size and made it the 4th largest non-food retailer.
Today, Macy’s is truly a US institution. It has stores in virtually every major market and has sales of more than $25 billion.
All these sales lead to lots and lots of returns. Those returns lead to huge quantities of liquidation inventory flowing into the secondary market. I will write more about that in a separate post, but will just say that we often see Macy’s liquidation inventory for sale on BStockSupply.com. I’d encourage you to watch the site if that product is of interest to you.